WES – Western For All Breeds Of Horse – Joiners Southern Comfort

There are many new members of the Western Equestrian Society, and we think it is always important to look back at what makes the Society the success it is today.  One of the main things about WES is that is is a Western Riding Club open to all breeds of horses, and it is the horses that make the society great.   We’re going to be looking back at horses who have been part of the WES success story.  We’re going to start with David Brindley’s fabulous horse….

Joiners Southern Comfort. Stable name Tab

Over a period of some 17 years a regular attendee at WES events throughout the UK was a Section D Welsh Cob who went under the stable name of Tab.

He was bred in South Wales with a blood line that can be traced into the 19th Century. Unfortunately he passed away due to Colic in May 2010 just a month short of his 22nd birthday. I’d had him from a young 2 year old and we became partners in 1990

Tab was a fantastic project and gave me a tremendous sense of achievement. He was bought as a two year old unbroken gelding. He knew nothing and I knew about the same and although some would say I probably still know nothing, together we both progressed to what I felt was a good standard.

19 years ago clinic and training opportunities were few and far between so progress was slow. However with additional schooling under the eye of a sympathetic dressage instructor we made enough progress to attend our first and disastrous show in Whitchurch back in 1991. We didn’t get placed and the judges comments were not complimentary. Adamant that would not happen again we did not go to another show until the following year – the American All Breeds show – this time we got placed!

Steady progress was made until 1996 when disaster struck and as a result of a serious stifle injury we had to lay off for a full twelve months.  In 1998 he became a ‘happy hacker’ as I changed jobs and time became precious. I then brought him back into work in 2001 going back to basics and gradually bringing him on to the stage where we could compete again starting in spring 2002.

We reached the stage where he could only compete in Open Classes in Trail, Horsemanship and Pleasure and was slowly moving up the points league in Reining and Western Riding.

Over the years Tab represented WES in the North West doing over 60 demonstrations to clubs, societies and charitable events and on one occasion he even represented the AQHA!.

In 2002 he joined the WES role of Merit but unfortunately fell short of his Buckle award due in part to my commitments with the National Show.

There is a lot of nonsense talked about horses in Western – many feel that Quarter horses have the edge and are favoured by the judges. They are the ideal breed but have to be trained and ridden like any other.  We’ve taken a native pony and trained him to a standard where he can go into an open class at the National show and whilst he may not win he’s not out of place and stands a good a chance as any other horse in there particularly in the likes of Trail. The breed horses will always do well as in any discipline, however you can do Western with a Native and do well.

Over the years Tab and I formed a partnership that has been very fulfilling and I keep thinking back to Bob Mayhew’s  advice on some of the clinics we attended – enjoy your horse!

I certainly enjoyed mine. Tab kept me sane on many occasions whilst driving me to distraction on others, but I rode for pleasure and as long as the horse did well I didn’t mind not being placed.

I haven’t yet been able to replace Tab – he’s a hard act to follow, but in the meantime I’m working with my partner to bring her horse on Western – hes’s a 12 year old 17.2 Polish Warmblood!

You don’t need a breed horse to ride Western – what you need to do is just enjoy your horse and do the best you can.

David Brindley – WES Chairman

If you enjoyed this article, why not write your own, about your special WES horse, we’d love to print it in the WES News and then publish it on the website.   Let’s celebrate these great horses we’ve got, and let them promote our Association.   Roger Wells at WES News would be really pleased to receive your articles and photographs